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Nigeria: Why Food Prices Are High In Nigeria And What We’Re Doing About It – Minister

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istockphoto 1020544830 1024x1024 1
istockphoto 1020544830 1024x1024 1

Dried food products on the african street market

Prices of food items like rice, bread and beef have increased in the past few years, some by over 200 per cent.

The increase in food prices in Nigeria is caused by many factors including the COVID19 pandemic, insecurity and the Russia-Ukraine war, an official has said.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mahmood Abubakar, who said this in Abuja, however, said the government was ‘working hard’ to address the rising prices of food items.

Mr Abubakar spoke Thursday at the State House at the weekly ministerial briefing organized by the Presidential Communications Team.

Prices of food items like rice, bread and beef have increased in the past few years, some by over 200 per cent.

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The minister, however, said the rise in the prices of food is not peculiar to Nigeria and is made worse by the emergence of COVID-19 and the war between Russia and Ukraine.

“When COVID came, it affected a lot of things including food production and the after effect of that is what we are still facing and that will lag for some time before it is stabilised,” he said.

He said he believes that “the price of rice has dropped a little bit and we are still working on it.”

“The whole world is currently reeling out of COVID and now battling the consequences of the war in Ukraine and Russia but things will stabilize and the ministry of agriculture is doing everything possible in terms of addressing the problem; we are not relenting, so that the prices will come down faster.”

Speaking on how the insecurity across Nigeria has affected food prices, the minister said attacks by herders and terrorists have denied some farmers the opportunity to go to their farms, especially in the north-west and north-central regions of the country.

He said despite the security situation, food “production has not dropped to any significant level.”

“That is one of the reasons why we have an arrangement for security agents known as agro-rangers, who are providing some measures of security so that the farmers will be able to access their farms.

“Truly, if they cannot completely access farms all over the country, you will expect a drop in production but right now we are doing everything possible to make sure production is maintained through that security provision,” he said.

Mr Abubakar said Nigeria’s plan to end hunger in the country by the year 2025 is still on track.

“Of course, we are on track. Who will not want to end hunger?” he said.

Fish Import

Another official of the agriculture ministry, Samson Umoh, also spoke about fish importation in Nigeria.

Mr Umoh, the director of Fisheries and Aquaculture in the Ministry of Agriculture, said there are two main reasons why Nigeria still allows fish importation. One is that local production cannot meet demand while the second is that some species of fish are not locally sourced.

“Presently the total fish demand for the country is about 3.6 million metric tons, based on the population of Nigeria while the total production is about 1.2 million metric tons,” he said.

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“And the gap must be filled up therefore, we are engaging the youths, women and all sectors to improve fish production.

“Apart from the intervention being done by the government, there are some species that are not farmed or found in Nigerian waters; like the mackerel and the stockfish among others. Therefore, we have to import because they are not available in Nigeria,” he explained.

Mr Umoh said President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to agriculture has seen the agricultural sector contribute a lot to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), in the wake of the fall in the global price of oil.

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